…. and not only because of sparkling eyes and a French accent. My sister’s younger years came to mind, and her older ones. Because melting
eyes ice is very much part of an ongoing quest.
Now some may realise that I’m partial to the odd wee coincidence from time to time. It was only the other day that I was telling you of reading of the Polish Polar people, in tales of summers spent in Svalbard. That very same day, as it happens, I was having an annual chat with some friends and, as always the subject of their recent travels cropped up. And whadayano – they were recently back from, you’ve guessed it Spitsbergen. Q Mulder & Scully, spooky music.
But there is an important message here. Cast your mind back a few months to that stunning footage from Gordon Buchanan, as he followed a polar bear family on those same shores. Remember the dangers of a PB, as they may be known in tour party circles, being stranded on the wrong isle or ice floe, bereft of food supply, separated from cubs or company.
Well according to my friends the news from those parts is not good. The captain of the ship they were on, intent on giving his passengers the full Arctic Experience, suggested that they might like to see the pack ice, the cliff edge. But he then found that the ice this year extended only so far south as 200 miles north of the archipelago. There was no chance of a further 400 mile round trip within the time available. No ice to see.
And it was the same on land, as Gordon Buchanan showed us in the spring. A tale of receding ice, reducing habitat.
And so, if like some others not far from here, you have a hankering to capture a PB in your lens, it’s a quest that seems to be getting harder to fulfil. My friends managed to see one, at reasonably close quarters. But the ice is receding, the seals with it. And if you are of the type that doesn’t ‘do’ boats, then there’s always Churchill, but a PB scavenging our bins seems far from the wild, from natural habitat, as far as I see it.
The seasons now are such that it can be possible to reach the North Pole without taking to the ice at times. And that can’t be good news for all sorts of reasons involving warm currents, water levels, ozone layers, or PBs.